SharePoint Puzzle

What’s going on with SharePoint? Klint Finley, writing for ReadWriteWeb, reports what seem to be some counter-intuitive survey results:

A survey by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) found that although Microsoft SharePoint is being rapidly adopted by the enterprise, at least half of the enterprises polled that are implementing the platform don’t have business uses in mind and many lack specific policies regarding its use.

No business uses? No policies?  I thought this was a violation of the rules everyone learned in the IT 101 course on implementing new technology.  What’s worse is that the survey reports that 26% of the respondents claim that their “implementation is being driven by the the IT department with no input from information management professionals.” If this is true, then in a quarter of all cases, the IT professionals have acted contrary to the restrictions they impose on the rest of their organization.  But wait, there’s more:

Among respondents who have completed their SharePoint implementation, 58% report being able to do most of the things they needed with SharePoint. Others are using customizations and plugins for added functionality. ROI has been better or much better than expected according 28% of respondents, as expected for 40%, and only 9% consider it to be less than expected. The rest said it was too soon to say.

So, how do you explain this level of satisfaction given what appears to be patchy planning? Low expectations? A poor understanding of what the tool can do? Or have we all been so beaten down by disappointing implementations that we’re grateful for whatever crumbs we can get? But wait, there’s more:

Collaboration is the most popular use, followed by document management, file-sharing and intranet creation.

Now this makes no sense since I’ve heard lots of folks (including a few from Microsoft) say that the collaboration tools that come with SharePoint really aren’t all that great. Again, what’s going on? Have users discovered something that the experts missed in the collaboration tools? Or  are we so desperate for collaboration tools that we’ll take whatever we can get?

I’m no expert in SharePoint, but I am very interested in learning more.  If you can explain this puzzle, please do let me know.  I’m dying of curiosity!

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Update:  AIIM has provided a helpful summary of their survey results.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t answer all of my questions. (Hat tip to Curt Melzer at PinHawk Law Technology Daily Digest.)

[Photo Credit: Horia Varian]

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